Posts Tagged ‘stucco’

The Problem With Synthetic Stucco

Posted on: April 30th, 2012 No Comments

Stucco is a versatile building material that has been around for centuries. It was used extensively in Europe to repair damage to stone, brick and concrete buildings after World War II. North American builders began adapting it to wood-framed houses in the 1980s, and therein lies a problem.

Modern stucco is technically known as Exterior Insulation and Finish System (“EIFS” or “synthetic stucco”). The inner layer is a foam insulation board that’s secured to a wall’s surface. The middle layer is a cement base coat reinforced with chicken wire or fiberglass mesh. The exterior finish coat is the textured and often colored cement plaster. The final product is beautiful, durable and air tight.

Being air tight is an advantage, unless of course moisture somehow finds it’s way behind the layers. In a subtropical climate such as Tallahassee’s, wood destroying organisms are quick to take hold in moist environments. If stucco cracks, is applied incorrectly, or is not maintained properly, water can readily find its way through. In no time, wood will start to be destroyed. Signs that stucco has been compromised include:

Well applied and maintained stucco can last forever. Before buying a stucco home, make sure to hire a specialist to inspect the home for damage. They will likely have some sort of humidity reader to detect where moisture may have found a way in and advise you on costs to repair damage if it is found.


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